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Full text of "A letter on the subject of the vice presidency, in favor of the claims of Jas. K. Polk, of Tennessee, to the nomination of the Democratic National Convention"



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V. 



A LETTER 



ON THE 



SUBJECT OF THE VICE PRESIDENCY, 



IN FAVOR OF THE 



CLAIMS OF JAS. K. POLK, OF TENNESSEE, 



TO THE NOMINATION OF THE 



DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION. 



BY A TENNESSEEAJf. 



I 






^'^^/m^^'' 



WASHINGTON: 

PRINTED AT THE GLOBE OFFICE. 
1844. 



t' 



U'-*" 



LETTER. 



TO THE EDITOR OF THE GLOBE. 

Winchester, (Tenii.) January 18, 1844. 

Sir: 1 have observed in the Globe of the 8th in- \ 
slant, a communication over the signature of "Ami- 
cus," on the subject of the vice-presidential nomina- 
tion to be made by the democratic national conven- 
tion at Baltimore in May next. I agree m opinion 
with the writer, "that the vice presidential candidate 
should be selected upon principles, and the people 
should be the judge of these priiiciples; and that, before 
the selection is made." I agree with him that the 
.selection should be the emanation of the popular 
voice of the democracy of the Union, and not the 
result of an arrangement to be made by a few poli- 
ticians, without consulting that will. I am happy, 
also, to agree with the writer in another point; and 
that is, that "the democratic candidate for the next 
presidency is now ascertained; the people have in- 
dicated him; the convention will declare him; and he 
is as well known now as he will be after the conven- 
tion adjourns." The popular voice of the democra- 
cy points, unerringly, to Mr. Van Buren as their 
candidate. He has ever been my first choice, and 
it is now certain that he will be the first choice of a 
large majority of the nation. I agree also with him, 
that "Mr. Van Buren being a democrat of the 
Jack-son school, tried in the ten years' bank and fede- 
ral war upon that hero and his policy; the vice- 
presidential candidate should be a statesman of the 
same principles, tested in the same crucible;" and 
that, as Mr. Van Buren resides in the northern sec- 
tion of the Union, the vice-presidential candidate 
should be a southern man, and "belong to that 
great interest (planting and slave-holding) which is 
now so vitally and perseveringly assailed." Agree- 
ing also witii "Amicus" in the general principles 
which he lays down as proper to govern in the se- 
lection of a candidate, I difier with him widely in the 
practical application which he makes of them. In 
this difierence, dictated by my best judgment, I am 
not sensible of being actuated in the least degree by 
any other wish or feeling than a sincere desire to 
promote the true interest and success of the demo- 
cratic cause, by the most available means, in the great 
and trying contest which is now so near at hand. 
Our strongest man — one who can bring most 
strength to our ticket — should most assuredly be 
selected. The two distinguished gentlemen named 
by "Amicus," as being more prominently before the 
country than others, to use his own words "are 
Mr. William R. King, of Alabama, and Gov. Polk, 
of Tennessee; and the question is, which of them 
shall be Uiken?" 

Witliout intending any the slightest disparage- 
ment to the public character or services of Mr. 



King, or any other distinguished democrat, I think 
the proofs and evidences are most abundant to show 
that Mr. Polk has been more extensively and gen- 
erally indicated, through the public press, and the 
voluntary action of the people in their popular as- 
semblies, as the first choice of the democracy for 
the vice presidency, than any other man. His dis- 
tinguished and conceded talents; his irreproachable 
public and private character; his indomitable cour- 
age and firnmess in support of democratic princi- 
ples under all circumstances; his personal energy 
and untiring industry; his unequalled labors and 
great sacrifices in the common cause, — have all con- 
spired naturally to attact public attention to him aa 
the most suitable, as well as the most available can- 
didate. To these causes may, doubtless, be attri- 
buted the very numerous expressions of populaa" 
feelhig and opinion in his favor, in so many States, 
and more especially in the South and Southwestern 
portions of the Union. In more than fifty popular 
meetings of the people of the several counties of 
his own State, held during the last autumn, he was 
declared by resolves to be the unanimous choice o 
the democracy of Tennessee. In no single meeting 
was any expression of opinion given in any form — 
not even in the form of an individual dissent — in fa- 
vor of any other person. In all these meetings, 
with perhaps one or two exception.s, a direct p-efir- 
ence was declared for Mr. Van Buren, as the pros- 
pective democratic candidate for the presidency. 
In popular meetings of the people in several coun- 
ties in Alabama, (Mr King's own State,) in nume- 
rous public meetings in Mississippi, Louisiana, Ar- 
kansas, Missouri, and Illmois, (not to mention many 
other strong indications of popular sentiment in oth- 
er portions of the Union,) Gov. Polk has been de- 
clared to be the first choice of the democracy as a 
candidate for the vice presidency on a ticket with 
Mr. Van Buren. In the late Stnte convention in 
Tennessee, he wa.? unanimously nominated. In the 
State convention of Arkansas, in December last, 
Mr. Van Buren was nominated as a candidate for 
the presidency and Gov. Polk for the vice presi- 
dency. 

Agreeing with "Amicus" in the expression of the 
opinion that "it will never do for the vice presidency 
to be made an aflair of arrangement in the conven- 
tion, or by a few leading members of our party," 
the writer of this communication is fully satisfied, 
from the indications of popular sentiment already be- 
fore the countrv.thatGov. Polk is the first choice of 
a .arge majority o uhe democracy of the nation, if 
left free from improper influences in making the 
selection; and that, if the popular current is left free 
and unchecked in its course, he will certainly be the 
nominee of the convention. 



If I am ri:jlit in this opinion, (of which I entertain 
no doubt,) I would respectfully submit for serious 
consideration whether it is not the most wise and 
safe course to fcllcio the voluntary indications of the 
popular will and wishes of the party, than by enter- 
ing into a struggle and contest between the rival 
friends of two or more of the distinguished aspi- 
rants of our party, and thereby attempt to create, 
lead, and direct public sejitiment. 

The manifestations referred to, favorable to the 
nomination of Gov. Polk, are not confined to the re- 
cently-expressed preferences of the democracy. 
They were given in various forms, entitling them to 
high consideration in many parts of the Union, pre- 
vious to the meeting of the democratic national con- 
vention at Baltimore in May, 1840 — now nearly 
four years ago. Before the meeting of that conven- 
tion, he had received the nominations of the demo- 
cratic State conventions of Virginia, Massachusetts, 
aiul Tennessee; and a decided preference had been 
doclared for liini in numerous primary meetings of 
the dcmocrai y in Nortli Carolina and throughout 
the southern and southwestern States. The con- 
vention at Baltimore, however, having failed to make 
any nomination, he promptly, and with a self-sacri- 
ficing patriotism which has always marked his 
course, withdrew his name from the contest in a 
public letter, rather tha)i suffer it to be made the 
means of producing any possible embarrassment or 
division in the democratic party. Being at that time 
governor of Tennessee, he contributed largely to the 
defence of Mr. Van Buren and the principles and 
measures of his administration, in the memorable 
ctnitest of 1840; and, because he did so, vigorously, 
and without stint or regard to personal consequences, 
he became the object of the most unmeasured abuse 
and persecution of all the whig leaders and the 
Avhole whig press of Tennessee. Such was his re- 
"vvard for tiie most able and disinterested services 
Tendered hj any man of his party in his own State 
;in that ever-memorable contest. ' It endeared him, 
however, to his own party at home and abroad, and 
is oneof tlie many just causes of his present poupu- 
iarity with the great democratic family of the na- 
tion. 

In the progress of this communication, "Ami- 
cus" proceeds to assign the reasons why, in his 
opinion, a preference should be given to Mr. King 
over Gov. Polk. He thus proceeds: 

"Equal iii so many respects, and with merits so 
nearly balanced, what then is there to turn the scale 
between them? 1 answer, seniority — length of service 
— mme varied strvice — service in the war-Conp-ess 
— service in a branch of the government tchich requires 
vinre information, and gives more experience — difference 
in the attitude of their respective friends toivards Mr. 
Van Buren (the admitted democratic candidate fw the 
presidency) — and in the political condition of their re- 
spective States.^'' 

To the first reason assigned, consisting of the 
mere fact that "Mr. King is tlie elder man," a ready 
answer is, that the single and mere fact of seniority 
in years should, in sober judgment, have but little to 
do in the selection of a proper candidate. Gov. Polk 
is not only of the age required by the constitution, 
but has reached his forty-eighth year, as may be 
seen by a sketch of his life in the Democratic Re- 
'view. The second reason is, in my opinion, of no 
more weight than the first. It is, "Mr. King has 
seen longer service than Mr. Polk." This, in con- 
nexion with all the fects, can surely have no influ- 
ence in making the selection of the candidate. Gov. 



Polk has been in the public service more than twen- 
ty years, during fourteen of which he was a leading 
and distinguished representative in Congress, exten- 
sively known throughout the Union as having been 
a prominent member of that body, and successively, 
session after .session, the able head of the Commit- 
tee of Ways and Means during the bank-panic war 
upon Gen. Jackson and his administration, and then 
Speaker of the House — always one of the most 
honorable and important stations in the government 
— a post which he filled with distinguished ability 
for the four years immediately pi-eceding his volun- 
tary retirement from Congress. Mr. King has been 
longer in Congress; but has he filled posts in- 
volving so much responsibility, and rerjuiring so 
rare a combination of talents, qualifications, and la- 
bor.' In assigning the third reason, "Amicus" says: 
"Mr. King's service has been more varied, for he 
has served in both Houses of Congress, while Mr. 
Polk has only served in one." The force of this rea- 
son is not perceived. If there be any in it, it might be 
very properly replied, that when Gov. Polk voluntari- 
ly rehnquished his seat in Congress in 18.39, at a time 
when there was not a whisper of opposition to hisf 
re-election in his district, and when the fact was well 
known that he would have been again returned to 
the House if he had desired it, he retired expressly 
for the purpose of making the patriotic eflfort, from 
which all others shrunk in dismay, to recover and 
redeem his State from the possession and ascendency 
of whigery and federalism. By becoming a candi- 
date for governor in that year, against the advice of 
many of liis more cautious and timid friends, he em- 
barked in the contest against a whig majority of 
twenty thousand, as indicated by the governor's and 
State election of 1837. By his indefatigable indus- 
try, toil, and commanding talents in popular discus- 
sion, he won, however, the most brilliant jtolitical 
victory ever achieved in any State of tlie Union. 
He was elected over the whig incumbent. Gov. Ciui- 
non, and filled the executive chair of Tennessee for 
two years. In his youth, he had served with great 
distinction as a member of the Tennessee legislature. 
His .services, therefore, it seems to me, have been 
quite as varied and as distinguished as those of Mr. 
King. The fact, too, might be stated and maintain- 
ed, (for it is true, and known to the writer of this 
communication,) that, after his election as governor 
of Tennessee, he had it at his option to be chosen a 
senator in the Congress of the United States by the 
legislature of Tennessee; but he voluntarily declined 
it, j)referring to recall and reinstate his old friend and 
jd-eceptor (the late Judge Grundy) in the station in 
the Senate from which that great and good man had 
been driven by the instructions of a federal whig 
legislature. 

"The fourth and fifth reasons of preference assigned 
by "Amicus" arc, that "Mr. King served in the war- 
Congress; and that, having been for many years a 
member of the Senate, he has "served in a more 
responsil-i!e and complicated branch of the govern- 
ment than Mr. Polk." I confess myself unable to 
perceive the weight which the writer seems to attach 
to these reasons. Although Mr. King has occupied 
these stations, rnid been justly held in favorable 
estimation by those with whom he lias been asso- 
ciated as a gentleman of worth, and although he may 
fully merit the eulogy which "Amicus" has pro- 
nounced upon his character, yet it is most true that 
he is, comparatively, but little known to the great 
body of the American i)eople. The character of his 
public services has not been such as to attract public 



attention, and leave any lasting impression on the I 
public mind. Without any detraction from Mr. 
King's merits, the precise reverse of the foregoing 
remarks may be truly affirmed of the character and I 
effects of the public services of Gov. Polk. Though ! 
he was not old enough to hold a seat in Congress 
during the last %var with England, and ahhougi'h he i 
has n^ever held a seat in the Senate of the United 
StatCvS, yet the hnportant character of his public 
services in Conj^i-ess, and as the chief magistrate of 
his own State, have been such as to make him both 
extensively and favorably known to nearly all the 
leading public men of the nation; and, also, to the 

freat "mass of the American people throughout the 
Jnion. He has been a man of the ])eople, and em- 
phaticahy one of them. He has ever mingled freely 
with his fellow-citizens; his feelings, sympathies, 
and interests have ever been in common with the 
great body of his countrymen;^vhiIe, upon the true 
principles of the great doctrine of utility, he has been 
their watchful public servant. Mr. King has con- 
fined his laluirs more to the closet and council cham- 
ber. Henco, in their very habits consists one of 
the s.triking dissimilarities of their public characters. 
The sixth ground of preference assigned is, "the 
attitude of iheir respective friends towards Mr. Van 
Buren." The lute Alabama State convention nomi- 
nuted Mr. Von Buren, and the State convention o 
Tennessee made no nomination for the presidency. 
*'AmicuS'' has by no means been correctly informed 
of the true state of public opinion of the democracy 
of Tennessee, and has, therefore, imbi])ed an er- 
roneous impression. Although no formal nomina- 
tion of a candidate for the presidency was made by 
the Tcnnes-ce convention, yet the fact is well 
known — i.s as notorious as that the convention met in 
November in that State — that, in the numerous pri- 
mary meetings of the people by whom the delegates 
to the convention were appointed, resolutions approv-* 
ing Mr. Van Duron's administration, and expressive 
of a strong and decided preference fn- him as the 
next democratic candidate, were passed, and passed, 
in almost every instance, by acclamation. A large 
majority of the convention were known to entertain 
the same opinions and wishes; and that, if an ex- 
pression of jn-eference for any candidate had been 
deemed of the least importance to secure Mr. Van 
Buren's nomination at Baltimore, it would 
have been expressed with almost j^erfcct una- 
nimity. As, however, in all numerous bodies of 
men, called together to deliberate upon any subject, 
however plain, there will ever be a few dissentients 
from the majority, the convention, in order to se- 
cure entire unanimity Ln the State, and perfect har- 
mony in its proceedings, in a proper spirit of for- 
bearance and concession to the minoritj'^, abstained 
from giving expression to their preference. ^QH 
were agreed in one thing, the most essential 
yoint in question ; and that was, to sttpport in 
good taith the nominee of the national conven- 
tion. That Mr. Van Bf.ren would be the nominee, 
the convention had not the slightest doubt. By the 
course adopted, all, even the slightest division in 
the party in the Staie, in advance of the action of 
the national convention, was prudently avoided. 
The delegates chosen to represent the State in the 
convention at Baltimore, profess a full knowledge of 
the sentiments of the democracy of their respective 
districts and sections of the State. That sentiment 
is known to i)e favorable to Mr. Van Buren's nom- 
ination. The delegates are not instructed; but i;o 
doubt can exist of their will and wish to faithfully 



represent their constituents. Tliis sixth reason, 
therefore, why Mr. King should be preferred to 
Gov. Polk, when tested by the truth of the real 
state of public sentiment in Tennessee, must neces- 
sarily fall to the ground'as possessing no weight in 
itself. This, as well as the seventh reason as- 
signed for the preference of Mr. King — that is to 
say: "the political condition of their respective 
States" — does Gov. Polk great and manifest injustice; 
and will, I am well persuaded, be found to operate, 
when riirhtly tested, most unfortunately for the 
claims of the writer's favorite candidate. No man 
in the Union has been more consistently, uniformly, 
and zealously the supporter of Mr. Van Buren and 
his political principles, than Governor Polk and his 
friends in Tennessee always have been. Indeed, it 
is a confessed truth hi that State, that if it had not 
been for the exertions and advocacy of Gov. Polk, 
and a few other leading men, there would scarcely 
lieretofore, at any time, have been a Van Buren party 
in Tennessee. If, when a large majority of tlie 
delegation in Congress from that State, with John 
Bell,' then Speaker of the House, at their head, met 
together in the caucus at "Washington, in the waiter 
of 'l834-5, commonly called the "caucm nf eleven,^'' 
and contrived and attempted to carry out the wicked 
design of dividing and conquering the democratic 
party of the Union, by putting up and running the 
late Judge White for the presidency, against Mr. 
Van Biiren, when they clearly foresaw and knew 
that the latter woidd be' the choice of an overwhel- 
ming majority of the party; — I repeat, that if, at 
that critical moment, Gov. Polk, Cave Johnson, and 
the Felix Grundy had yielded to the wishes of the 
members of the caucus, and had united with them in 
the plot, where now would have been the demo- 
cratic party, not only in Tennessee, but in all the 
southwestern States? Where now would have been 
the Van Buren party in those States?. In answer to 
these interrogatories, it may be most confidently 
affirmed, that^if it had not been for the steadfast and 
unshaken inte;S:rity of the gentleman named, on that 
tryinij occasion, that the democracy at this day 
would have been in a hopeless and irrecoverable 
minority in the States referred to. Judge White 
had, at that time, an almost boundless popularity in 
his own State and the Southwest. He had been the 
professed friend of General Jackson and his admin- 
istration ; his ultimate political defection was not 
anticipated but I)V few persons, the ulterior designs 
of himself and tlie members of the causus having 
been artndly concealed. At this juncture, at the 
imminent hazard nf incurring the displeasure of his 
constituents, and losing his seat in Congress, Gov. 
Polk remained steadfast and immovable. He return- 
ed home from Washington, and breasted the political 
storm, which had been artfully and successfully 
raised in favor of Judge White. Polk, Grundt, 
and Johnson v/ere the foremost of the few nien Ln 
the State who took bold and open ground in ex- 
posing the plot, endeavoring to arrest its eftects, and 
in the sup]iort of Mr. Van Buren. Grundy and 
Johnson both fell temporarily in the struggle. The 
former was instnirted out of the United States Sen- 
ate by a whig legislature, and the latter was defeated 
for Congress hi his district. Gov. Polk was alone 
left standing. He v^^as so well fortified in the alfec- 
tions and confidence of his immediate constituents- 
satisfied them so fully of the correctness of his 
course, that he was again returned to Congress; and 
at this day, the people of that district constitute a. 
sound democratic portion of the State. 



In 1839, as already stated, he recovered the State, 
when aiiy other man, of less energy and forecast, 
-would have been deterred from the undertaking by 
the apparent insurmountable dilHculties by which it 
seemed to be nurrounded. He was elected gov- 
ernor ; a democratic legislature, in both branches, 
was returned ; Mr. Grundy was restored to his seat 
in ihe Senate; and Mr. Cave Johnson was again 
elected to Congress over his former successful com- 
petitor. This great democratic victory was achieved 
by a close vote. To these events, the political storm of 
1840 succeeded, v/liich swept before it so many States, 
(Tennet.;ssee among the number,) and the demo- 
cratic party of the Union was, for a time, overthrown. 
Under the influence of the mighty effects of this na- 
tional disaster. Gov. Polk again entered the canvass 
for re-election in the general State election of 1841, 
with a majority of more than twelve thousand votes 
agamst him, as indicated by the presidential elec- 
tion of the preceding autumn. His entry into this 
unequal canvass seemed to be against hope — the ex- 
citement of the preceding year having by no means 
subsided. Nothing dismayed, he again canvassed 
the whole State — addressed the people in strains of 
argument, reason, and eloquence, which had the 
powerful effect, though it did not secure his re-elec- 
tion, of reducing the whig majority of 1840 about 
nine thousand votes — his defeat being only by a ma- 
jority for his competitor of a fraction over three thou- 
sand votes. Again: in 1843, although he had al- 
ready performed a greater s-nn of labor, and sub- 
mitted to more personal sacrifices and privations, 
than perliajjs any other man in the Union had ever 
done under like circumstances in the services of his 
party and political friends, he cheerfully yielded to 
tiie united wishes of tiie democracy of his State, and 
again became their candidate for governor. He 
look the field and opened the canvass in March, and 
continued it actively, travelling throughout all the 
counties m the State, and making speeches almost 
daily from that time until the election in August. 
The immense amount of labor, thus performed, may 
be estimated from the fact that Tennessee is over 
six hundred mile.s in length, over one hundred miles 
wide, and contains over seventy counties. In this 
election, although his aggregate vote exceeded fifty- 
four thomand— a larger number than the democratic 
party had ever before polled in the State— his fed- 
eral whig competitor succeeded by the small major- 
ity of between three and four thousand, in a poll in 
which upwards of one hundred aMl twelve thousand 
votes were cast. In Tennessee it is well understood 
and known, that this result did not truly indicate 
the true state of popular sentiment upon the lead- 
ing questions of controverted national policy. It is 
a fact, notorious in that State, that the federal whig 
party labored constantly in the contest, and with 
undeserved success, to make new, local, and tem- 
porary issues of a State character; and in many 
counties and districts, they secured by these means, 
and by similar acts of deception, more than votes 
enough to have changed the general result if the 
voters had not been so misled. These local ques- 
tions, and the causes of them, are now happily at an 
end, and in the approaching presidential contest can- 
not be raised or rendered'availablc for the federal 
party, as tests upon which votes can be made to de- 
pend. My opinion is, most clearly and decidedly, 
that a considerable majority of all the voters of Ten- 
nessee are democratic; and that, with Gov. Polk's 
name on a ticket with Mr. Van Buren, the State can 
be certainly cai-ricd for the democracy next fall. It 



is under the state of facts which I have here hastily 
narrated, that "Amicus" does Gov. Polk and his 
friends glaring injustice, as I sincerely believe, when 
he indulges in the following language: 

"Finally, the political condition of their respect- 
ive States is another point of preference for Mr. 
King. Alabama is democratic; Tennessee is fed- 
eral whig. One is helping, the other is injuring, 
the democratic cause. The red-hot shot of Ten- 
nessee are now fired into the democratic ship. This 
may be a misfortune, and not the fault of that 
former democratic State, and her present public 
men. Still, it is a misfortune which entails a conse- 
quence, and which involves a serious consideration 
in the selection of a vice-presidential candidate. We 
have a desperate conflict ahead — one in which a new 
and portentous power appears in the federal ranks — 
a foreign interference from British capitalists, seek- 
ing the assumjition of two hundred millions of State 
debts; which power, added to all the others which 
march under the federal flag, give to the contest of 
1844 a fearful aspect. In such a contest the de- 
mocracy has no coin]iliments to spare to unfortunate 
States by carrying the burden of the public men 
who cannot bring their own State into the demo- 
cratic line. They want strength, noi weakness." 

The writer of this paragraph did not, perhaps,. 
well consider its general and unqualified scope and 
bearing. He did not, perhaps, for the moment, re- 
member that General Jackson himself was a citizen 
of Tennessee, and took an active interest in the con- 
test of 1840, as he also did in those of 1841 and 1843. 
He did not perhajjs remember that the time-honored 
patriot and sage, to save his country, and to pre- 
serve the democratic character of her institutions, in 
1840, in company with Mr. Grundy and Gov, 
Polk, visited a portion of the State, distant from his 
residence, and actually addressed a large assembly 
of his tellow-citizens on the occasion. Yet "Amicus" 
affects to think that, in such a contest as that which 
is impending, "the democracy has no compliments 
to sj)ai-e to unfortunate States by carrying the bur- 
den of the jiubhc men who cannot bring their own 
Slate into the dcnwcrtic line. They want strength, not 
tcfftArjess." 

While Gov. Polk has, for years past, been strug- 
gling with a giant's strength, with a host of adver- 
saries, including a most embittered and un- 
scrupulous federal whig party, it may be truly 
said, in the language of "Amicus," that "with- 
out invidious comparisons, and without refer- 
ence to personal merits — looking only to the acci- 
dents of their lives and positions," Mr. King has been 
placed in circumstances of ease, not requiring an 
effort on his part to preserve the democratic princi- 
ples in the democratic State of Alabama. The demo- 
cratis majority in that State has ever been large, 
certain, and fixed. No struggle on his part, such 
as has been demanded of Gov. Polk in Tennessee, has 
ever been required or deemed necesssary. While Mr. 
King has enjoyed perfect political quiet and ease, 
and been gently wafted on his course with the popu- 
lar current upon a smooth sea, — while this has 
been Mr. King's happy lot. Gov. Polk has encoun- 
tered persecution and breakers on every hand. If 
from "tlieacci(/ente of their lives and pos'itions," this 
has been the case, can it, in candor, be assigned as 
a valid reason iVir abandoning Gov. Polk, at a mo- 
ment when the whole democracy of his State con- 
fidently believe that, with his name on Mr. Van 
Buren's ticket, Tennessee — the home of Jackson — 
can and will be redeemed from her present false and 



unnatural political position? In Alabama there is 
no danger. She will be soundly democratic with 
any respectable name on the ticket with Mr. Van 
Buren. Tennessee is debatable ground. In Ten- 
nessee, the contest is to be fierce and excited: if her 
electoral vote is secured, a great prize will be gained. 
With Gov. Polk's name on the ticket, the whole 
democracy of the State feel confident of success. 
With any other name as the candidate for the vice 
presidency, she may, and most probably will be lost. 
The very same reason, therefore, thus assigned by 
"Amicus" agauist the nomination of Gov. Polk by 
the Baltimore convention, is, in my judgment, a 
strong and unanswerable argument and reason, 
among many others, why he should be prefered. 

Gov. Polk has never been an ambitious man; so 
that "Amicus," I have no doubt, does no more than 
bare justice to both gentlemen in declaring that 
"neither of them has ever been greedy after federal 
office. Neither of them has ever been known to wish a 
federal office." So far as regards Gov. Polk, the remark 
well known Ijy all his friends to be strictly true, is 
Had he ever desired federal office, his intimate con- 
nexion with the administrations of Gen. Jackson 
and Mr Van Buren, surely afforded ample oppor- 
tunities for the gratification of his wishes. He never 
has had such wishes to gratify, but has been con- 
tent, throughout his brilliant career, to perform hard 
and severe .service, and submit to every degree of 
sacrifice in support of his jiarty and principles, wlnlc 
others who have enjoyed the alternations of shade 
and sunshine, as suited their pleasure, have been re- 
warded with public honors. After more than 
twenty years of I lublic service, such as I have de- 
scribed, Gov. Polk's name has been placed before 
the democracy of the nation by his friends, without 
any solicitation or agency on his part, as a suitable 
and proper candidate for the vice-presidential nomi- 
nation. His name will be continued before the party \ 
by his political friends until the nomination shall be I 
made by the national convention. It will be so contin- 
ued before the party, because his friends in the South 
and Southwestern States believe, that his nomina- 
tion will bring more substantial and available strength 
to the democratic ticket than that of any other dis- 
tinguished citizen who has or may be named for the 
vice-presidential office. 

Gov. Polk has never oflended against the spirit or 
principles of true democracy. He zealously em- 
braced the true republican principles of Thomas 
JefTerson, at his outset in life, and has cherished and 
defended them from his youth up. He -has ever 
been firm, undeviating and unshaken in the main- 



tainancc of these principles as well as in the seasons 
of adversity, as in the seasons of the pro.sperity of 
his party, both in and out of his State. The dernoc- 
racy of Tennessee, wfio have been familiar with his 
public and private eliaracter for more than a quarter 
of a century, possess a full and perfect knowledge of 
his patrotism and constancy of character, and of his 
pure and incorruptible integrity in public and pri- 
vate life. They well know and ajijireciate the un- 
paralleled privations, toils and labors he has cheer- 
fully undergone, and the free sacrifices of all private 
and personal interests which he has heretofore made 
in the cause of democracy. It is upon these ground.?, 
I and because they fully believe him to be the most 
available man in the Southwestern States, that hia 
friends, witliout dispargement of the claims of other 
I distinguished members of the democratic party, have 
I presented his name to their democratic brethren of 
, the union, as being eminently qualified, as well as 
I the most available candidate, to fill the second office 
: in the national government. 

j Had ;it not been for the publication of the com- 
j munication signed "Amicus," in your paper of the 
8th of January, I should not have drawn on the in- 
dulgence and liberality of your columns on the 
present occasion. With "Amicus," I can truly 
say, that ''personnlbj the two gentlemen are equally 
I accepfal)le to me." 

j I have freely expressed my preference for Got. 
I Polk, for the reasons candidly and explicitly as- 
I signed; and because the personal claims of neither 
I of the gentlemen ought to control, in the least de- 
1 gree, the paramount interest which the democratic 
j party have in making a jiroper decision in the selec- 
tion which the convention at Baltimore may make. 
Having no possible unkind feeling towards Mr. 
Kiiig, I have carefully abstained from all discussion 
whicii might receive an invidious construction, of 
the relative qualifications of the distinguished citi- 
zens whose fitness for the vice presidency I have 
had under reviev,'. 

Since the foregoing was written, I have received 
information, deemed reliable, of the nomination of 
Mr. Van Buren for the presidency, and Gov. Polk 
for the vice presidency, by the State convention o 
Mississippi, on the same day of the date of the 
Globe containing the communication of "Amicus;" 
and of a large popular movement in favor of Gov 
Polk by the democracy of Cincnmati, Ohio. These 
popular movements all serve to confirm the grounds 
of preference which I have assumed for Gov. Polk 
in the foregoing communication. 

A TENNESSEEAN. 



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